Building a positive human future from workplace disruption
Defining and building the workforce of tomorrow
At many companies, digital transformation is accelerating faster than workforce change. Company leaders know that they need new capabilities and skills but aren’t sure where to place strategic bets. We helped BT, the UK’s largest telecommunications provider, transform the way its Enterprise division approached strategic workforce planning to begin building the skills it needs five years out.
using our future of work methodology, we analysed trends and scenarios to drive strategic decisions on workforce planning
designing and piloting three ’Future Skills’ workshops over three months
building internal awareness and ownership of future skills gaps
adopting a gamified approach to engage leaders and get real business insights
In the pre-digital world, we’d lay out our strategy and do strategic workforce planning for the next two to three years thinking about our organisation’s resource needs and operating model. In a digital world, that approach is now obsolete.
Business, IT and human resources (HR) executives are planning for a future of work no one truly understands. Business and technology are fusing, and companies need workers who have skills in strategy, software development, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and more. Digital platforms, the gig economy and collaborative processes are making it easier to surface talent and empower global teams, leading to flatter workforce structures. And advanced technology is reinventing jobs, eliminating repetitive tasks and fuelling corporate productivity. Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution.
Additionally, workers are bringing new values and expectations to their roles. Companies that don’t evolve their workplace, workstyles and employee brands risk losing top talent to those that do.
BT Enterprise is tackling these challenges and opportunities proactively. Formed when BT Telecommunications combined its divisions in 2018, BT Enterprise sees its workforce as central to accomplishing its top goals. The Enterprise division wants to strengthen its product and service focus and enhance customer service, all of which will require new skills and new ways of working.
PA has challenged BT Enterprise to put individuals and their portfolio of skills at the heart of our planning, taking a human-centric approach to helping our employees develop and maximise their capabilities.
We helped BT Enterprise answer two key questions about its future workforce: which people and skills the company would need over the next five years and how BT could find, develop, attract and keep them. We worked with BT’s HR business partners to design a series of three workshops over three months on the future of work, the future workforce, talent dilemmas, workforce planning and talent sourcing strategies.
Gamifying strategic workforce planning made it easy and engaging for our leaders to think about our skills needs across our different functions. PA’s approach was innovative and an exciting and fun way to think about the why, where and when of the skills we’d need in a way that resonated with our functional leadership teams.
Because senior leaders were time-starved, the joint team gamified the final part of the process as the popular multiplayer fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons, assigning participants key roles and priorities they role-played as they interacted with other function leads to plan for the future. We provided thought leadership and workshop design, then co-facilitated alongside the HR organisation so that the team can now design and hold future skills workshops on their own.
BT Enterprise can use findings to create a five-year strategic workforce vision and annual plan it can begin implementing now. BT Enterprise’s humanistic approach, which focuses on individuals and their portfolio of skills, will help the company attract, build and retain the talent it needs to deliver its strategy. This approach also provides the division’s employees with exciting opportunities to grow their careers at the speed of transformation.